by Bennett O'brien
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The Titanic 


 


What is the Titanic? 


The RMS Titanic was a large British ship that was operated by the White Star Line. At the time that the ship was put into service in 1912, she was the largest ship in the world and also the most luxurious cruise liner. 


When was the Titanic Built? 


Construction started on the Titanic in 1909. The ship took three years to build. It was completed in 1912. 


Where was the Titanic Built? 


The Titanic was built in the Harland and Wolff Shipyard in Belfast, Ireland. The ship was designed by Thomas Andrews, who was the chief naval architect of the Harland and Wolff Shipyard during the period that the Titanic was built. 


What is the Titanic Known for? 


The Titanic is known for being one of the largest maritime disasters of all time. On its maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York City, United States, the ship struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic at around 11:40 pm on April 14th, 1912. After striking the iceberg, the ship began to fill with water and at around 2:20 am, roughly two hours and forty minutes after the ship hit the iceberg, it sank to the bottom of the ocean. There were not enough lifeboats on board for all of the passengers and crew members on the ship, so many people who were on board the Titanic died when the ship sank. 


 


How Many People Died When the Titanic Sank? 


1504 people died when the Titanic sank. 706 people survived the Titanic. Of the 706 who survived, 492 were passengers and 214 were crew. The survivors of the Titanic were mostly women and children as a decision was made to prioritize women and children for survival when the ship was going down. Also, many men chose to sacrifice themselves in order to save their wives, sons, and daughters. However, the lifeboats were not filled to maximum capacity, meaning hundreds more people could have survived the titanic sinking. The crew did not fill them to maximum capacity because they were worried the lifeboats would sink if they did. 


Why Did the Titanic Strike an Iceberg? 


Many things had to go wrong in order for the Titanic to strike the iceberg in the North Atlantic that would eventually cause it to sink. The first of these factors was that Captain Edward Smith ignored warnings from other ships in the area about icebergs and continued to operate the ship at full steam ahead. He could have slowed the ship down which would have given crew members more time to react and avoid the iceberg. But, he kept the ship sailing at about 22 knots on the night of the crash. 


Another important factor was that the lookouts did not have binoculars. Binoculars could have helped them to see the iceberg faster. The reason why they didn’t have binoculars was because the storage area where the binoculars were kept was locked and the person who had the key had been transferred off the ship prior to its launch. He forgot to hand over the key to the storage area. 


There is also speculation that weather conditions at the time could have caused a phenomenon called “super refraction” that could have created mirages and hazy horizons which would have made it more difficult for the lookouts to spot the iceberg. 


Additionally, there is also speculation that the crewmembers responsible for maneuvering away from the iceberg once it was spotted made mistakes that caused the Titanic to strike the iceberg instead of avoiding it. 


Aftermath of the Titanic Sinking 


The roughly 700 survivors were stranded in small lifeboats in the cold north Atlantic waters. These survivors were rescued by the RMS Carpathia several hours after the Titanic sank. After this event, new safety standards were adopted for vessels carrying passengers that recommended that there are enough lifeboats for all passengers on board. The Radio Act of 1912 was also passed which mandated that radios on ships be operated 24 hours a day. Several ships missed distress calls from the Titanic because their radios were turned off. These safety standards are still used today. 


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